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Pennsylvania’s closed primaries

My parents are from Williamsport. By the time I was born we moved to another part of the state, but Williamsport is a hometown to me. My parents taught me to fight for fairness in all areas of life. This is why I care so much about voting rights.

Like my Republican and Democratic friends and neighbors, I pay taxes. These taxes help pay for our elections — printing ballots, voting machines, paying for elections day operations for both primaries and general elections. But unlike my friends and neighbors, I can’t vote in the primaries. I can’t vote because I’m an independent, and in Pennsylvania we have closed primaries. If I want to exercise my constitutional right to vote, I have to join a political party. Why should I be forced to affiliate with a party I do not want to belong to?

We’re only one of nine states with this archaic closed system. Yet the fastest growing segment of voters in Pennsylvania are independents! And we wonder why elections are basically held in gerrymandered districts and end up being coronations of the candidate who wins their party’s primary.

It’s time for Pennsylvania to join the 21st century. It’s time that my tax dollars are as valued as my Republican and Democratic neighbors. I am calling on Rep. Everett to support Senate Bill 300, which would enable independents to vote in primary elections. It passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. We all deserve a say in who represents us!

Jennifer Bullock

Philadelphia

Submitted via email

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